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Pangolin London Sculptor in Residence Briony Marshall opens exhibition
Briony Marshall, CS 6-10 Maquettes. Bronze. Edition of 5. Image courtesy of Pangolin London; Photo: Steve Russell.

LONDON.- Pangolin London announces, Life Forming - the inaugural London solo show of their 2012 Sculptor in Residence, Briony Marshall.

Oxford Biochemistry graduate turned sculptor, Briony Marshall’s unique, science-inspired works are a humbling and awe-inspiring look at the fragility, beauty and complexity of human life. The second sculptor to take up Pangolin London’s year long residency, Marshall approaches the realm of art and science in an innovative and fresh way and Life Forming confirms her reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming sculptors.

Taking a rather unconventional route on her journey to become a sculptor, Briony Marshall first pursued a science degree before following her passion for art. Making the decision to move from laboratory to artist studio, Marshall’s science background has influenced her artistic practice and she uses this unique viewpoint to explore the place of the human in the context of scientific doctrine. Chemistry and molecular science are strong themes within her work, though she explores the micro world of molecules through figurative sculptures that often draw parallel and illuminate the anthropocentric macro world we inhabit as a society.

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA this year, Briony Marshall’s work, DNA: Helix of Life is emblematic of the great achievements of modern science. A two meter tall DNA molecule, it is constructed from over 600 human figures joined at the hands and feet each representing a different atom in the DNA. Made first in wax and then cast in bronze, the work demonstrates ambitious talent paired with a rather humbled view of society; that we must support each other as individuals to operate as a whole. The integrity of the structure depends on each figure playing its part and is a powerful representation of the interconnectedness of life.

Marshall’s work questions not only societal identity, but also personal identity in the deepest sense. Often Marshall hones in on the most basic and intimate of cell structures, as in Carnegie Stages, a series of sculptures that explore the developmental stages of a human embryo. The piece is a visual exploration of biological creation and embryonic growth, and reveals the human body to be at once the most base and complicated of machines.

Briony Marshall’s interest in the latest theories of neuroscience and biology are complimented by the strong element of formalism and technique in her work, enabling her sculptures to impact viewers both on both an intellectual and visceral level. This is perhaps most notable in her bronze works, cast at Pangolin Editions foundry during her residency. Here the facilities of the London Gallery’s affiliated foundry were put to best effect in a body of complex and technically ambitions cast works. Indeed, this exhibition is a showcase for Pangolin’s ongoing dedication to exploring sculptural process and supporting new talent, such as Marshall, from grass routes level.

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